Tens of millions of people around the globe suffer from some sort of back pain. In fact, it is estimated that eight out of ten Americans have back problems. It is a prevalent problem in the United States, as well as other parts of the world, and is the single leading cause of disability. Chronic back pain, in particular, has become a disabling problem, causing sufferers to spend more than 85 billion dollars a year for treatment.
Common Causes of Back Pain
Back Pain And Mental And Emotional Issues
Back pain may be a physical condition, but do you know that it may have something to do with your psychological and emotional health? A study done in 2004 found that people who scored poorly on psychological tests given to them had a thirty percent higher risk of experiencing back pain than those who did well. The study concluded that if you have any unresolved trauma or underlying emotional issue, it might influence your health profoundly. The same thing goes vice versa. Since back pain can bring unpleasant sensations, it can have a profound effect on your mood as well. This is especially true if you have chronic pain. It can interfere with just about every aspect of your life and may affect the way you think and feel.
Dangers of Using Drugs for Back Pain
Back pain can easily be treated with acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. However, while these drugs can offer immediate relief, their effects are often only temporary. Sooner or later, the pain will simply return, and worse, may develop into hyperalgesia, or an increased response to pain. In short, conventional medication for back pain may do more harm to the patient than good. What’s worse is that most of the medication give for back pain are often accompanied with severe side effects. Take NSAIDs, for instance. These are the most commonly prescribed drugs for back pain and other related health problems, but the truth is that they can increase your risk of having a heart attack or even stroke. Other conventional drugs for back pain can cause digestive tract bleeding, kidney problems, and increased blood pressure. The bottom line is that while these painkillers may quickly relieve you of pain, they don’t come without risks. The good news, on the other hand, is that there are ways you can treat back pain at home without having to resort to such drugs.
Ways To Relieve Back Pain Naturally
One of the simplest and quickest ways to relieve yourself of back pain is stretching. A study that suggests yoga to be helpful in treating back pain also found that stretching could be as effective. Regular stretching does not only help treat minor back pains, but also lower your chances of having back pain in the first place. Simple stretching exercises are capable of increasing your flexibility. Just make sure you warm up 5 to 10 minutes by doing light activities before performing stretching exercises, as stretching cold muscles may lead to injury.
Another very simple way to treat back pain is by treating yourself with a good massage. Study shows that a weekly massage can help reduce chronic back pain in just 10 days. Massage offers health benefits that are recognized by conventional health practitioners. Some hospitals even make it a standard for therapy among surgery patients. A good massage can help release endorphins that don’t only act as natural painkillers, but also help induce feelings of relaxation, as well as help bring down stress levels.
Acupuncture is something that not most people would dare try. After all, who would want to have long needles inserted into their skin? However, studies suggest that people who receive acupuncture treatments are more likely to receive quicker relieve for back pain that those who do not. So, if you have back pain, try to keep an open mind and consider this ancient form of alternative medicine.
People who suffer from back problems will often find relief for their condition through strength training. Back pains are usually a result of poor posture, as well as weak back muscles. Strength training targets both, helping you develop proper standing and sitting postures, and strengthen your back muscles to reduce your risk of injuries.
We’ve mentioned earlier how having a poor mental and emotional state can result to back problems. When you’re anxious or stressed, your body activates its “fight or flight” response system, which often involves tensing your muscles, so that you’re ready to spring into action anytime. By reducing stress in your life, you will definitely help improve you back pain.
Speaking of stress, one of the most effective ways to release some stress is through meditation. Several scientific studies in the past have proven meditation to be effective in reducing chronic pain. A particular study done by Duke University revealed how meditation has helped patients who were suffering from chronic back pain. A similar study showed how patients who practiced meditation experienced a 40% decrease in pain they were experiencing.
This is a conservative and non-surgical way to treat back pain. It usually involves strengthening exercises for the leg, gluteal, and abdominal muscles, as well as stretching exercises for the back, hamstrings, calf muscles, and hips. In a study done in Japan, patients with back pain who performed these exercises at least two times a week showed significant improvement in their lower back pain.
Chiropractic care is no doubt one of the best tactics to help deal with back pain. Unfortunately, a lot of people ignore this unconventional way of treating the spine. However, several studies confirm that chiropractic treatment is in fact safe for treating lower back pain. It’s also less expensive than most methods used for back problems. What’s best about chiropractic treatment, too, is that it doesn’t only address immediate back pain, but also help prevent other bodily dysfunctions.
Preventing Back Pain From The Start
There are actually tons of ways to treat back pain naturally, but there is not better way to deal with it than to prevent it from the start.
- Stretch before engaging yourself in any strenuous activity.
- Avoid slouching when standing or sitting.
- Sit in chairs with excellent lumbar support.
- Avoid sitting in the same position for long periods.
- Walk around and gently stretch muscles regularly.
- Always support your back when bending.
- Sleep on a firm surface and practice lying on your side.
- Always keep your back straight when lifting using your legs.
- For ladies, avoid wearing high-heeled shoes when you can.
- If your work requires you to sit for extended periods, make sure you stand and walk around every 30 minutes. If you can, invest in a standing desk. This will give you an option to work standing up in the morning and sitting down in the afternoon.
It’s also crucial for you to avoid smoking, because it hinders blood flow to the lower spine, causing the health of your spinal discs to deteriorate. At the same time, make sure you drink plenty of water every day and get enough vitamin D. Vitamin D will keep your bones and your spine strong, reducing your risk for back pains, while drinking adequate amounts of water will reduce bone and muscle stiffness, as well as improve the height of your intervertebral disks.
Back Pain Management
Adding the right foods to your diet will greatly help in back pain management. Foods rich in curcumin, boswellia, capsaicin, bromelain, and cetyl myristoleate are all effective in providing pain relief. Ginger, evening primrose, borage oils, black currant, and boswellia are also rich in antioxidants and possess anti-inflammatory properties that should work well with back pain.
We strongly recommend that you consider these simple yet effective alternatives for relieving back pain (after talking to your doctor, of course). They will not only treat underlying problems, but will also save you time and money, and even harm, from using conventional pain medication.
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